Rugby’s British Thomson-Houston War Memorial upgraded

British Thomson-Houston War Memorial in Rugby
British Thomson-Houston War Memorial in Rugby

Rugby’s famous British Thomson-Houston War Memorial has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II* listing.

The memorial was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and, to mark Remembrance Sunday, all Lutyens’ First World War free-standing memorials are now protected by listing.

The memorial was moved from Mill Road to Technology Drive, off Leicester Road, and is one of 15 War Crosses Lutyens designed.

Commissioned by engineering firm British Thomson-Houston, it was positioned outside their factory on Mill Road.

Lutyens’ War Crosses are characterised by a tall minimalist shaft and a very short cross arm.

The memorial has a time-capsule buried beneath it and the unusual feature of a circular plinth carrying the 243 names of the employees who died in the war.

Tracey Crouch, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Heritage, said: “The commemoration of the First World War Centenary has inspired people all over England to remember our shared history.

“Our war memorials provide a lasting legacy for those who sacrificed so much and I’d encourage anyone to nominate their local memorials for listing and preserve them for generations to come.”

Roger Bowdler, Director of Listing at Historic England, said: “Lutyens was a key figure in determining how the dead and missing should be commemorated.

“His designs are admired for the universality of their message.

“His pure architectural forms are mute symbols of grief, the simple inscriptions weighted with sorrow. These are enduring memorials, which show the power of classical architecture to convey meaning and dignity. We are also very grateful to volunteers who have helped us with these new listings – a new form of partnership.”

The Northampton War Memorial has been upgraded from Grade II* to Grade I.

Lutyens designed two tall obelisks, flanked by huge painted stone flags, which stand either side of a Stone of Remembrance.

The memorial, in Wood Hill, Northampton, was unveiled on November 11 1926 to immense crowds.

The memorial is adjacent to the Grade I listed Church of All Saints.

Historic England has pledged to list a total of 2,500 war memorials over the centenary of the First World War and it is calling on the public to put their local memorials forward (see column, left).